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  • spacecadet34 - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    Given that this very drive is today's Newegg Canada's ShellShocker deal, I'd say this review is quite timely! Reply
  • ExodusC - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    I picked up a 180GB Intel 530 recently after doing a lot of searching for a cheap SSD for my OS and some programs. It replaced my old first generation 60GB OCZ Vertex. I was hesitant about using a SandForce controller drive, since many people apparently still have issues with certain drives, but I decided to jump on the 530.

    I'm pleased with the performance and price, and I was blown away by Intel's software, allowing you to flash the drive to the latest firmware while it's running with your OS on it. That's a huge leap above the pains of trying to get my old OCZ drive to flash to the latest firmware (which is sometimes a destructive flash).
  • Samus - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    Amazingly I haven't ever had an issue with an Intel Sandforce drive. I had some quirkiness (not detecting upon reboot/resume from hibernation) with a 330 at launch but they fixed it almost immediately with a firmware.

    I can't say the same for OCZ. I've owned 3 of their drives and 2 failed, including the RMA's, in under 6 months. One failed in 3 days. Just wouldn't detect in BIOS, even on different machines or with a USB SATA cable. Ironically, the Vertex 2 240GB I have has been solid for over 2 years in my media center running 24/7 so there is no rhyme or reason to it.

    If only Intel's networking division was as on-the-ball with software updates as their storage division. My Intel 7260 AC wifi card occasionally doesn't detect any networks and it is a very common problem. At least they sorted the Bluetooth issues.
  • ExodusC - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    The 60GB OCZ Vertex I replaced actually was not my first. I RMA'd my original drive after I think I screwed up a firmware flash (it seemed to be my fault and not the drive's). Another reason I'm happy with my Intel drive, the firmware updating is so incredibly painless and low risk.

    If you're familiar with Anand's SSD anthology and the history behind the Vertex, you might remember that the first generation OCZ Vertex with production firmware was the first consumer SSD that didn't suffer from awful stuttering issues (due in large part to Anand's communication with OCZ on the issue). Other companies followed suit and prioritized consistent performance over maximum throughput. At the time, the Vertex was a no-brainer (this was in the pre-Intel X25-M days).

    You're right that OCZ seems to have some QC issues nowadays. On the plus side, I can definitely say that OCZ's customer support is top notch. They were extremely fast in qualifying me to RMA my drive after the failed firmware flash.
  • 'nar - Monday, November 18, 2013 - link

    You are complaining with no details to back it up. You said your Vertex 2 works fine, but you failed to mention the model OCZ drives that failed.

    I have used Vertex (Limited, 2, 3) and now Vector drives and have not had a bad experience yet. But I looked into the hardware and never considered the Solid or Agility series in the first place. I have replaced another guy's SSD three times. I finally told him to give up on RMA's and buy a quality drive. Solid and Agility are not quality, they are cheap. That's why OCZ finally dropped them.

    I've installed dozen of SSD's, mostly Intel/Sandforce models, and have never had an unexplained failure. I did have one, but that system killed a hard drive a month even before I installed the SSD, so it is just a quirk of that system.

    I have OCZ in all of my own systems(9) because they eek out a bit more performance, but the Intel Toolbox is a winner for me to use for others where I cannot be there for support.
  • jonjonjonj - Thursday, November 21, 2013 - link

    looks like you made a ocz fanboy mad. ocz deserves the terrible reputation they have and after all the bad drives they sold i wouldn't touch one. Reply
  • Bullwinkle J Moose - Saturday, November 23, 2013 - link

    You did not screw up the firmware flash!!!
    The number one failure mechanism for OCZ is a firmware update as could easily have been verified by the complaints at OCZ's forum and Newegg customer reviews

    I have torture tested OCZ SSD's (Vertex 1 and 2) by killing power, not aligning partitions, defragging and several other methods not recommended by OCZ

    Nothing would damage the drives until the firmware was updated as per OCZ instructions as can be seen by the thousands of customer complaints

    Anyone commenting otherwise is a LIAR and did not research this topic thoroughly or honestly!
  • Cellar Door - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    My Intel failed after just a year and a half - so don't think they are immune to it. Reply
  • Sivar - Saturday, November 16, 2013 - link

    This is true. Nothing is immune to manufacturing defects.
    I had an opportunity for a few years to see actual return rates for many hard drive and SSD manufacturers. Intel SSDs consistently had the lowest failure rates in the industry, at least through the 520. I haven't the most current data, but I would be surprised if the numbers suddenly changed since then.
  • Sivar - Saturday, November 16, 2013 - link

    Note that the OCZ Vertex 3 and later have been pretty solid. The previous generations were so alarmingly bad that I am a little surprised they are still in business. Reply
  • dynamited - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    I count seven asus motherboards with mPCIE, not one, at newegg. Regarding 6bps sata saturated, just run with RAID 0, is that hard to figure out how to do? Reply
  • ExodusC - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    I don't think TRIM commands can be passed through to SSDs running in RAID 0. At one point the Intel storage drivers supported this, but I heard that this had been pulled. I can't find any documentation on this.

    Additionally, even though SSDs are fairly reliable, adding another drive simply adds another point for failure.
  • Wetworkz - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    You CAN pass TRIM commands through to SSDs running in Raid 0 on Intel hardware. It has NOT been pulled. You need to have the latest Intel Toolbox in combination with the latest RST drivers installed. I just TRIMMED both my arrays a couple days ago. Reply
  • ExodusC - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    Out of curiosity, is that an automated process, or does it require manual TRIM through the Intel SSD Toolbox? What RAID levels are supported?

    I also wonder about the compressibility of striped data and if there is any effect there.
  • Samus - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    I pass TRIM to my RAID 0 Samsung 840 RAID through the Windows 8 defrag on my H87 chipset. Performance tests prove it works. Unfortunately if I have the IRST software installed the drives are downgraded to SATA 3Gbps. I tried different cables and everything. Uninstalling the IRST software after making the RAID 0 restores them to 6Gbps... Reply
  • DMCalloway - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    It was my understanding that TRIM worked in RAID 0 with the newer RST drivers, but only on Intel 7 series chipsets and newer. I do like Intel products but this is one thing they shafted us on. Reply
  • Wetworkz - Saturday, November 16, 2013 - link

    I just TRIMMED both my arrays a few days ago and one array was on an Intel 6 series chipset. I know that series 6 was not previously supported but I was able to initiate TRIM on the array with the newest Intel Toolbox and the newest RST drivers for the first time the other day. I cannot confirm this is officially supported behavior but I was able to do it with the newest drivers. I would give it a try if you have a series 6 board. Reply
  • 'nar - Monday, November 18, 2013 - link

    I don't really care about TRIM. Garbage Collection works better anyway, especially on SandForce drives. Reply
  • extide - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    mPCIE is not the same as M.2 Reply
  • dynamited - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    I believe they are calling it "mPCIe Combo Card" which actually has two connects to one on the motherboard. Reply
  • Magichands8 - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    "It will be interesting to see what Intel's approach will be with SATA Express..."

    Apparently Intel's approach is to ignore it as SATA Express won't be a part of Intel's 9-series chipset to be released next year. So God knows when we'll have any reasonable access to it. It seems that the only place left for SSD makers to go in order to differentiate their products is to reduce price/increase capacity. And when SSDs finally start hitting 2+ TB per device at reasonable prices our only option will be to resort to RAID 0 to get around the SATA albatross hanging around our necks.
  • Hrel - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    The Seagate 600 and Crucial M500 outperform the Intel drive and are a whopping $50 less. I see no value gained for paying more than $150 for a 256GB SSD. Am I missing something or is every 256GB drive over $150 as bad a deal as I think? Reply
  • Laststop311 - Sunday, November 17, 2013 - link

    Samsung 840 pro is worth every penny. Not only does it consistently fall in the top 3 for sequential reads and random reads it also falls in the top 3 for lowest power used. It is the only ssd on the market to perform that high while using that low of wattage. It's something special and has reigned supreme the entire 14ish months it's been out.

    You really need to look for deals on it though. Like newegg is selling the 512GB for 480 but I went on ebay and found a brand new sealed in box for 389.00 free shipping and no tax. 480 is a lot of omney for a 512GB but for 389 at that deal how can you buy any other 500GB capacity drive. Also these samsung drives perform noticeably at their very best if you leave 20% of it untouched so out of the 512GB you really should leave 102GB free and just use 410GB. Thats why you should buy 1 capacity size over what you need so you can properly over provision and have maximum iops at all times.

    I transfered a 200GB file from a 750GB samsung evo ssd to the 512GB 840 pro in a few seconds under 7 minutes. Thats pretty insane speed 200GB in less then 7 mins. Thats basically sata III being saturated. And it's saturates it while using the lowest power of ssd's in similiar situations.

    So yes 240 dollars is a lot for 256GB but I have seen them go on sale for 190 and you can search ebay too. Don't settle for a cheap ssd with poor power efficiency and slower speeds.
  • purerice - Sunday, November 17, 2013 - link

    I'm in the same boat you are. Seagate seemed to be near the top in most categories and used less power (perhaps over more time?) than Samsung 840 Pro and Intel... yet for a lot less money.

    For me especially, I'm still running on a 7200rpm drive for 90% of my work. The other 10% is 5400rpm. Even the slowest of these drives so so insanely faster than what I have that the marginal difference of anything above the Seagate gets lost in the wash.
  • MikeMurphy - Friday, January 10, 2014 - link

    This isn't a top drive, but it offers good performance, all-important low idle power consumption, access to the extremely helpful Intel SSD Toolbox, Intel reliability and a 5-year warranty.

    I'm happy to spend a couple extra bucks for this feature set.
  • supax - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    I actually just picked up a Seagate 600 240GB for $130 after $20 MIR. Seemed like a better deal to me anyway. Reply
  • jwcalla - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    So is it confirmed that SF-22xx series drives work on Haswell chipsets? Is it only the SF-12xx series that doesn't work or is it still a mixed bag of guesswork? Reply
  • iwod - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    I was just discussing this earlier. Since Intel decided to ditch the SATA Express, may be we are moving straight to PCI-E Native instead? The thing is we already have PCI-E Native SSD from Apple in many of its consumer Mac already already using it. And the trend will likely continue in next year. Since we are not going to get SATA Express until late next year with the original Intel 9 series chipset. Intel thought it may have been too late anyway and ditch it instead? Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Sunday, November 17, 2013 - link

    SATA Express is PCIe. SATA Express is simply the name of the connector which combines SATA and PCIe into one (i.e. the same connector works with SATA and PCIe devices).
  • Morawka - Saturday, November 16, 2013 - link

    The biggest fail of the year is when Asus put the M.2 Connector on a PCI 1.0 Bus. GG ASUS are you retarded? Reply
  • Duncan Macdonald - Saturday, November 16, 2013 - link

    Would it be possible for you to do an additional SSD test - how much does the write performance recover after a 30 minute idle period. Most consumer PCs (and even many servers) tend to have idle periods every day and if the garbage collection and free space erasure algorithms on the drive can get it back to a near new condition then this would be significent. Reply
  • 'nar - Monday, November 18, 2013 - link

    I agree, GC and idle time makes TRIM unnecessary, and even works better anyway. These benchmarks are a gross exaggeration of anything done in real-world usage. On the one hand everyone recognizes that fact, but on the other they keep hammering consistency and incompressible data like everyone does video editing all day every day. Reply
  • thefoodaddy - Saturday, November 16, 2013 - link

    The prices in that table for the Seagate and Crucial 240GB are, sadly, not $150 ($220 and $180, respectively)--way to get my hopes up,! Reply
  • purerice - Sunday, November 17, 2013 - link

    On google shopping I just typed in "Seagate SSD 600" and selected 240GB. 50+stores had them and 1 store has them for $149.99 with $0 tax and $0 shipping Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Sunday, November 17, 2013 - link

    The prices were taken on November 12th and both drives were $150 back then (probably a temporary sale). Reply
  • slickr - Saturday, November 16, 2013 - link

    Man these SSD's seem like a lot of hard work to me. I mean with all the firmware updates that need to be flushed, with all the failures that seem to be happening, with the inconsistent performances, with the fairly still high prices even after 4 years of SSD drives.

    I mean 4 years ago I though we would have at least 250GB for $150 by around this time, by around year 2014, but we we are still way off, I though 500GB SSD's would have started becoming more mainstream in 4 years, but now that we are here, now that I'm in the future it hasn't been done.

    In fact some of the drives are still plagued by the same problems some of the first SSD's had. I mean I agree that the average SSD is more reliable and generally faster, but this is not by much and the prices have been slow to come down.

    So I hope to see $150 250GB SSD's and more in the next several months, maybe 2014 will be the year, but I think if you just want reliability and security its best to go with normal hard drives that have huge capacity at cheap prices, I can get 1TB for $70 that is super cheap.
  • 'nar - Monday, November 18, 2013 - link

    I think you have been mislead by the benchmarks. They do not compare SSD's to hard drives, so you have no perspective. I recommend SSD's for everyone. They are faster and more reliable. Get a hard drive if you want your 1 TB of storage, which will be pictures, music, and video anyway, all things that would not benefit from SSD speeds.

    The only concern is that many people that complain about reliability fail to mention the model SSD that failed on them. I use Intel/Sandforce drive for systems I build for others, and OCZ/SandForce/Bigfoot on all of my own and never had a problem. I suspect that those looking for cheap, get cheap. If you want reliability don't look for the cheapest drive. As in all things, you get what you pay for. Find yourself a good drive, THEN look for a good price on it. Don't assume that any SSD made by a particular manufacturer is good.
  • name99 - Saturday, November 16, 2013 - link

    "The problem now is that every significant segment from a performance angle has been covered."

    Unfortunately no. If *I* were an SSD manufacturer, I'd try to differentiate myself by putting together a hybrid drive that isn't crap. It is insane that, with 2013 almost over, there is, as far as I can tell, precisely one HD available that is a hybrid drive --- and that HD is available in one form factor+size, only as a bare drive, and with a minuscule pool of flash.
    Complain about Apple all you like, but at least they have done (within the scope of what they control) something about this --- unlike freaking WD, Seagate, SanDisk and everyone else.

    WTF have SanDisk (or Sandforce, or Samsung, or Toshiba, or ...) down something about this? Put together a decent package of some RAM, some flash, a controller, firmware that does the caching properly, and sell it to WD or Seagate to glue onto 1TB+ size drives? Apple's solution is expensive, probably too expensive, because it's using pretty good quality flash and a lot of it. Cut down to 48 or 32GB of flash that's slightly slower and I think you could still give a heck of a kick to a drive at an additional cost of $30 to $50. I'd certainly be willing to pay this.

    I do not understand WD and Seagate. You go to Best Buy or Frys today, and they're each trying to reach out at you with a huge collection of basically identical drives --- they'll sell you a 2TB 2.5" in a green version, a black version, a red version, a blue version. (And those are not case colors, they are supposedly different models.)
    The one thing they won't sell is the thing that would actually make a difference, that I'd be willing to pay for, a freaking HYBRID version that consists of more than adding 8GB of crappy bargain bin flash and lame caching software that won't even capture writes.
  • Bob Todd - Sunday, November 17, 2013 - link

    Indeed. While it would be great if every laptop with a 2.5" drive had a mSATA or M.2 slot available, they are still the minority. I have SSDs as the boot drives of every machine sans one laptop that still has one of the 7200rpm 750GB Seagate SSHDs. I want at least 500GB of capacity for that machine, but I don't really want to drop the money for an SSD that big. A 7mm 500+ GB drive with 32+ GB of NAND needs to happen. Reply
  • emvonline - Sunday, November 17, 2013 - link

    100% agree. A 32G SSD+1TB HDD would cover all storage needs and be very fast for 90% of all work. On the once a month timing that you load a rarely accessed 1GB video it would take 3 seconds more than a SSD. All this assumes the Cache software works correctly :-) Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Saturday, November 16, 2013 - link

    Remember when Sandforce used to be desired? That was a long, long time ago. Now they stink of bad firmwares and ugly compromise. Reply
  • jwcalla - Saturday, November 16, 2013 - link

    I'm surprised we haven't seen a new gen from them yet. I wonder if they're even working on anything. Reply
  • purerice - Sunday, November 17, 2013 - link

    True. It is a better problem to have than great firmware with bad hardware though. I mean, if they have the desire, they can fix existing drives. If they don't, they'll just lose customers, end of story. Reply
  • GuizmoPhil - Sunday, November 17, 2013 - link

    The mITX ASUS Maximus VI Impact also got an M2 slot. Reply
  • g00ey - Sunday, November 17, 2013 - link

    Sorry but just I don't believe in PCIe as a viable interface for SSD storage. If SATA 6 Gbps turns out to be a bottleneck then make drives that use two SATA channels or more. Or even switch to SAS 12Gbbs which was introduced back in 2011. Not many changes will be needed when switching to SAS since SAS is pin-compatible with SATA and a SAS controller can run SATA drives. The only noticeable difference is that SAS is more stable and cable lengths up to 10 meters (33 feet) are possible whereas only 1 meter (3.3 feet) works for SATA. I also like the SFF-8087/8088 connectors which house 4 SAS/SATA channels in one connector, there is both an internal version (SFF-8087) and an external version (SFF-8088) of this connector, just like SATA vs eSATA.

    The major advantages of SAS/SATA over PCIe is spelled RAID and hot-swap so it only makes sense to implement PCIe based storage in ultra-portable applications and applications with extremely high demands on low-latency.
  • tygrus - Sunday, November 17, 2013 - link

    How do the SSD's perform with a simultaneous mix of Read/Write ? eg. 70/30 mix of random R/W with Q=32 or simulate tasks that stream read-modify-write. Reply
  • emvonline - Sunday, November 17, 2013 - link

    Couple items: The real difference with the 530 is low power options from Sandforce controller and potentially lower cost 20nm NAND. If it isnt cheaper than 520, don't buy it.

    Intel chose 2281 controller for its consumers SSDs over its internal controller. Why would you recommend that Intel do a consumer SSD with its internal controller? Intels 3500 internal controller is purchased from and fab'd by another company anyway. Do you think the performance it much better than Sandforce 2281 B2?
  • 'nar - Monday, November 18, 2013 - link

    I must be dense, because I still don't get why you criticize Sandforce so much about incompressible data. I don't see a need to put incompressible data on an SSD in the first place, so the argument is meaningless.

    For cost per GB of storage, most people still do not want SSD's holding 500GB of data. Why do they have over 500GB? Pictures, music, movies, ie incompressible data. Therefore, that is stored on a much more cost-effective hard drive and hence, irrelevant here.

    I don't see a performance advantage either. What do you do with music and movies? Play them. How much speed does that require? 12MBps? Hard drives are fine for media servers. Maybe you want to copy to a flash drive, but it will be limited itself to about 150MBps for good USB 3 drives anyway. And if you are editing video often then you are likely going over that 20GB per day of writes, so you should put that on an enterprise scratch disk anyway.

    So, you ask if Sandforce will "fix" this problem? What problem? It is the fundamental design feature they have. It is what makes them unique, and in "normal" system it is quite useful, reviewers looking for bigger sledge hammers not withstanding. That's like saying the president is not so bad, but maybe if he weren't so black.

    You can break anything. These are not build to be indestructible, nobody would be able to afford them if they were. These are built for common use, and I do not see hammering incompressible data in these benchmarks a common use.
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - link

    If you're using software based encryption, it's quite a big deal because all your data will be incompressible. For other SSDs it's the one and same whether the data is compressible or not, but for SandForce based SSDs it's not, so it's a thing worth mentioning. What would be the point of reviews in the first place if we couldn't point out differences and potential design flaws? Reply
  • 'nar - Thursday, November 21, 2013 - link

    noted. That's it. Not half of all benchmarks. I don't use software encryption for most of my data. Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Monday, November 18, 2013 - link

    I enjoyed the review, but why can't you have a single real world benchmark??? You compare CPUs based on the time it takes to encode/decode, and fps in games. That tells readers the quantified difference. Your SSD data tells the reader nothing about Windows startup time, file copy time, and program load time. This has been an overlook on Anandtech from Day 1. I've brought this up multiple times in these comments, but you guys somehow don't get it. Reply
  • dhisumdhisum - Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - link

    Debroah, will you marry me? I don't work, I am a bum. Reply
  • dac7nco - Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - link

    Greatest reply ever. Reply
  • Bullwinkle J Moose - Saturday, November 23, 2013 - link

    Technically, that was a proposal...
    The reply has not yet been given
  • Tjalve - Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - link

    I have actually don that kind of testing. But i use 20min idle time.

    The text is in swedish so use google translate to translate to english. But scroll down and qlik on the links.
    But check the diffrence between test 6 and 7 in the graphs.
  • Tjalve - Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - link

    I have actually don that kind of testing. But i use 20min idle time.

    The text is in swedish so use google translate to translate to english. But scroll down and qlik on the links.
    But check the diffrence between test 6 and 7 in the graphs.
  • nicolaim - Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - link

    MyDigitalSSD sells M.2 SSDs at retail, so saying M.2 SSDs are OEM-only is incorrect. Reply
  • mi1stormilst - Friday, December 06, 2013 - link

    The Intel 530 is $169.99 on newegg today ... tack on the 10% discount code floating around (NAFSAVETENDEC6W) for newegg and you have a bargain at $155.98 shipped!!! Reply
  • PKR - Sunday, December 08, 2013 - link

    With my Macbook pro Mid 2010, and Intel 530 240gb with DC12 firmware, I think this ssd is slow - I am only getting about 200 mbps write and 260 mbps read speed. Very disappointed, as I the reviews online pointed to speeds in the range of 500 mbps.

    I tried the installation two ways - one by cloning the system partition using carbon copy cloner, and another using a fresh install from super-drive and updating .. In both cases, speed didn't change.

    If it matters, I have 4 partitions on the drive. The system partition is of size 100gb, with about 40gb free space after migrating my content.
  • Wolfpup - Monday, December 16, 2013 - link

    I switched from Intel to Micron/Crucial after Intel switched to Sandforce controllers...I'd still pick this over OTHER sandforce drives, but I'm still picking an M500 over this... Reply

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